How do you pick a workout routine you can be sure will get you the results you want? Truthfully, it’s hard. The fitness world can be confusing and overwhelming, with a shedload of conflicting advice that makes it hard for beginners and experienced exercisers alike.
That means that you might make some mistakes on your path to a fitter, stronger and faster you. And that’s OK – as long as it doesn’t end with some lasting damage. But at Strong Women we want to make understanding and progressing in your training as seamless as possible. That means sharing the well-worn mistakes we’ve made so that you don’t have to make them too.
Whether it’s what we’ve eaten or how we’ve trained, we asked fitness enthusiasts and personal trainers to explain what not to do – and how to fix the mistakes if you’ve made them yourself.
1. Doing too much too soon
This is a hugely annoying mistake that I’ve personally made. When I first got into the gym I went from zero to 100 – going from never having trained before to suddenly working out five days a week. The problem was that by doing more than I needed to, I left myself no room to progress.
Instead, I wish I’d started moving with what is known as the ‘minimum effective dose’ – that is, doing just enough to get the progress you want. It might sound counterintuitive, but it means that when you need to increase the intensity of your training because you have adapted to what you’re doing, you actually have somewhere to go. With my body plauteing at five workouts a week, there wasn’t a lot I could do to get out of that rut but train extraordinarily hard.
It’s actually bigger than simply being a nuisance, says personal trainer Hannah Lewin. “Working beyond where you need to be is ultimately not sustainable,” she says. “If you’re starting with high-frequency or high-intensity, that Jet from Gladiator feeling will wear off and you’ll probably start to feel like a failure. Beyond the physicality, you’ll mentally feel like you’re on the back foot.”
Fitness mistakes can include doing too much and not recovering enough
2. Not taking time for recovery
Do you go, go, go with daily workouts but don’t give yourself any time off? Well, stop. …….